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Full text of "One Hundred Poems Kabir ( 1915)"

This Edition is intended for circulation only in'
India, Burma and Ceylon,
Fi)st Edition I'ebtumy 1915
Hepiinted September 1915, 1910, 1921, 19<!3, 1926,
1929, 1934, 1943,1943, 1948
BV G. F. BEST, AT THE I. S, S. D, FKfcSS.,
The poet Kabir, a selection from
whose songs is here for the first time
offered to English readers, is one of
the most interesting personalities in
the history of Indian mysticism. Born
in or near Benares, of Mohammedan
parents, and probably about the year-
1440, he became in early life a disciple
of the celebrated Hindu ascetic Rama-
nanda. Ramananda had brought to-
Northern India the religious revival
which Ramanuja, the great twelfth -
century reformer of Brahmanism, had
initiated in the South. This revival
was in part a reaction against the-
increasing formalism of the orthodox
cult, in part an assertion of the de*
mauds of the heart as against the
intense intcllcetualism of the Vedanta
philosophy, the exaggerated monism
which that philosophy proclaimed. It
took in Ramanuja’s preaching the
form of an ardent personal devotion
t,o the God Vishnu, as representing
the personal aspect of the Divine
Nature: that mystical “ religion of
love ” which everywhen- makes its
.appearance at a certain level of
spiritual culture, and which creeds
and philosophies arc powerless to
Though such a devotion is in¬
digenous in Hinduism, and finds
expression in many passages of the
Bhagavad Gita, there was in its
mediaeval revival a large element of
syncretism. Ilamananda, through
whom its spirit is said to have reached
Kabir, appears to have been a man
of wide religious culture, and full
of missionary enthusiasm. Living a.t
the moment in which the impassioned
poetry and deep philosophy of the
■great Persian mystics, Attar, Sadi,
■Jalalu’ddin RumI, and Hafiz, were
exercising a powerful influence on
•the l’eligious thought of India., he
'dreamed of reconciling this intense
and personal Mohammedan mysticism
with the traditional theology of Brah¬
manism. Some have regarded both
these great religious leaders as in¬
fluenced also by Christian thought and
life : but as this is a point upon which
competent authorities hold widely
divergent views, its discussion is not
attempted here. We may safely
■assert, however, that in their teach¬
ings, two—perhaps three—apparently
^antagonistic streams of intense
-spiritual culture met, as Jewish and
Hellenistic thought met in the early
Christian Church : and it is one of the
outstanding characteristics of Kabir’s-
genius that he was able in his poems,
to fuse them into one.
A great religious reformer, the-
founder of a sect to which nearly a.
million northern Hindus still belong,,
it is yet supremely as a mystical poet
that Kabir lives for us. His fate has-
been that of many revealers of Reality,
A hater of religious exclusivism, and1
seeking above all tilings to initiate-
men into the libei’ty of the children
of God, his followers have honoured
his memory by re-erecting in a new
place the barriers which he laboured
to cast down. But his wonderful songs-
survive, the spontaneous expressions,
of his vision and his love; and it
is by these, not by the didactic
teachings associated with his name,
that he makes his immortal appeal to>
the h^art. In these poems a wide-
range of mystical emotion is brought
into play: from the loftiest abstrac¬
tions, the most other-worldly passion
for the Infinite, to the most intimate
and personal realization of God, ex¬
pressed in homely metaphors and
religious symbols drawn indifferently
from Hindu and Mohammedan belief.
It is impossible to say of their author
that he was Brahman or Sufi, Vedant-
ist, or Vaishnayite. He is, as he says
himself, “ at once the child of Allah
and of Ram.” That Supreme Spirit
Whom he knew and adored, and to'
Whose joyous friendship he sought
to induct the souls of other men,
transcended whilst He included all
metaphysical categories, all crcdal defi¬
nitions ; yet each contributed some¬
thing to the description of that Infinite-
and Simple Totality Who revealed
Himself, according to their measure-,
to the faithful lovers of all crceds.
Kabir’s stoxy is surrounded by con¬
tradictory legends, oxi none of which
-reliance can be placcd. Some of these
• emanate from a Hindu, some from
-a .Mohammedan source, and claim
him by turns as a Sufi and a Brahman
saint. His name, however, is practi-
•cally a conclusive proof of Moslem
■ancestry : and the most probable tale
is that which represents him as the
actual or adopted child of a Moham¬
medan weaver of Benares, the city in
which the chief events of his life took
In fifteenth - century Benares the
rsyncretistic tendencies of Bhalcti re¬
ligion had readied full development.
Sufis and Brahmans appear to have
met in disputation : the most spiritual
’members of both crccds frequenting
the teachings of Ramananda, whose
reputation was then at its height.
'The boy Kabir, in whom the religious
•passion was innate, saw in Ramananda
ilis destined teacher; but knew how
•slight were the chances that a Hindu
guru would accept a Mohammedan as
•disciple. He therefore hid upon the
•steps of the river Ganges, where Rama¬
nanda was accustomed to bathe; with
the result that the master, coming
'down to the water, trod upon his body
unexpectedly, and exclaimed in his
.astonishment, “ Ram ! Ram ! ”—the
name of the incarnation under which
lie worshipped God. Kabir then de¬
clared that he had received the mantra
of initiation from Ramananda’s lips,
.and was by it admitted to discipleship.
In spite of the protests of orthodox
Brahmans and Mohammedans, both
•equally annoyed by this contempt of
theological landmarks, he persisted in
his claim ; thus exhibiting in action
that very principle of religious syn¬
thesis which Ramananda had sought
to establish in thought. Ramananda
appears to have acccpted him, and
though Mohammedan legends speak ol"
the famous Sufi Pir, TakkI of JhansI,
as Kabir’s master in later life, the
Hindu saint is the only human teacher
to whom in his songs he acknowledges
The little that we know of Kabir’s
life contradicts many current ideas
concerning the Oriental mystic. Of
the stages of discipline through which
he passed, the manner in which his
spiritual genius developed, wc arc
completely ignorant. He seems to-
have remained for years the disciple
of Ramananda, joining in the theo¬
logical and philosophical arguments
which his master held with all the
great Mullahs and Brahmans of his
day ; and to this source wc may per¬
haps trace his acquaintance with the
terms of Hindu and Sufi philosophy..
He may or may not have submitted
to the traditional education of the
Hindu or the Sufi contemplative : it
is clear, at any rate, that he never
adopted the life of the professional
.ascetic, or retired from the world in
order to devote himself to bodily
mortifications and the exclusive pur¬
suit of the contemplative life. Side
by side with his interior life of adora¬
tion, its artistic expression in music
and words—for he was a skilled musi¬
cian as well as a poet—he lived the
sane and diligent life of the Oriental
•craftsman. All the legends agree on
this point: that Kabir was a weaver,
a simple and unlettered man, who
earned his living at the loom. Like
Paul the tent-maker, Boehme the cob¬
bler, Bunyan the tinker, Terstcegen
the ribbon-maker, he knew how to
combine vision and industry; the
work of his hands helped rather than
hindered the impassioned meditation*
of his heart. Hating mere bodily
austerities, he was no ascetic, but a
married man, the father of a family—
a circumstance which Hindu Iegends-
of the monastic type vainly attempt
to conceal or explain—and it was from
out of the heart of the common life
that he sang his rapturous lyrics o£
divine love. Here his works corro¬
borate the traditional story of lnV
life. Again and again he extols the.
life of home, the value and reality
of diurnal existence, with its oppor¬
tunities for love and renunciation r.
pouring contempt upon the profes¬
sional sanctity of the Yogi, who “ has
a great beard and matted locks, and
looks like a goat,” and on all who>
think it necessary to flee a world
pervaded by love, joy, and beauty—■
the proper theatre of man’s quest—
in order to find that One Reality Wild
has “ spread His form of love through'
out all the world.” 1
It does not need much experience
of ascetic literature to recognize Hie
boldness and originality of this atti¬
tude in such a time and place. From
the point of view of orthodox sanctity,
whether Hindu or Mohammedan,
Kabir was plainly a heretic ; and his
frank dislike of all institutional re¬
ligion, all external observance—which
was as thorough and as intense as that
of the Quakers themselves—completed,
so far as ecclesiastical opinion was
concerned, his reputation as a danger- •
ous man. The “ simple union ” with
Divine Reality which he perpetually
extolled, as ahlcc the duty and the
joy of every soul, was independent
both of ritual and of bodily austerities ;
the God whom he proclaimed was .
1 Cf. Poems Nos. XXI, XL, XHII, LXVI, ,
neither in Kaaba nor in Kailash.”
Those who sought Him needed not
to go Tar; for He awaited discovery
• everywhere, more accessible to “the
washerwoman and the carpcntcr ”
than to the self-righteous holy man.1
Therefore the whole apparatus of
piety, Hindu and Moslem alike—the
temple and mosque, idol and holy
water, scriptures and priests—were
denounced by this inconveniently
-clear-sighted poet as mere substitute's
for reality ; dead things intervening
between the soul and its love—
The images arc all lifeless, they cannot speak:
I know, for I have cried aloud to them.
The Purana and the Koran are mere words:
lifting up the curtain, I have seen.2
This sort of thing cannot be toler¬
ated by any organized church ; and
it is not surprising that Kabir, having
1 Poems I, II, xij.
liis head-quarters in Benares, the very
centrc of priestly influence, was sub¬
jected to considerable persecution. The
well-known legend of the beautiful
courtesan sent by the Brahmans to
tempt his virtue, and converted, like
the Magdalen, by her sudden encounter
with the initiate of a higher love, pre¬
serves the memory of the fear and
dislike with which he was regarded
by the ecclesiastical powers. Once
at least, after the performance of a
supposed miracle of healing, he was
brought before the Emperor Sikandar
Lodi, and charged with claiming the
possession of divine powers. But Si¬
kandar Lodi, a ruler of considerable
culture, was tolerant of the eccentrici¬
ties of saintly persons belonging to his
own faith. Kabir, being of Moham¬
medan birth, was outside the authority
of the Brahmans, and technically
classed with the Sufis, to whom
great theological latitude was allowed.
Therefore, though he was banished in
the interests of peace from Benares,
his life was spared. This seems to
have happened in 1495, when he was
nearly sixty years of age ; it is the
last event in his career of which we
have definite knowledge. Thence¬
forth he appears to have moved about
amongst various cities of northern
India, the centre of a group of dis¬
ciples ; continuing in exile that life
of apostle and poet of love to which,
as he declares in one of his songs, he
was destined “ from the beginning ol‘
time.” In 1518, an old man, broken
in health, and with hands so feeble
that he could no longer make the music
which he loved, he died at Maghar near
A beautiful legend tells us that aftev
his death his Mohammedan and Hindu
disciples disputed the possession of
his body; which the Mohammedans
wished to bury, the Hindus to burn.
As they argued together, Kabir ap¬
peared before them, and told them to
lift the shroud and look at that which
lay beneath. They did so, and found
in the place of the corpse a heap of
flowers ; half of which were buried
by the Mohammedans at Maghar, and
half carried by the Hindus to the holy
city of Benares to be burned—fitting
conclusion to a life which had made
fragrant the most beautiful doctrines
of two great creeds.
The poetry of mysticism might be
defined on the one hand as a tempera¬
mental reaction to the vision of
Reality : on the other, as a form of
prophecy. As it is the special voca¬
tion of the mystical consciousness to
mediate between two orders, going
out in loving adoration towards God
and coming home to tell the secrets
of Eternity to other men; so the
artistic self-expression of this con¬
sciousness has also a double character.
It is love-poetry, but love-poetry which
is often written with a missionary
Kabir’s songs are of this kind:
outbirths at once of rapture and of
charity. Written in the popular Hindi,,
not in the literary tongue, they were
deliberately addressed—like the ver¬
nacular poetry of Jacoponc da Todl
and Richard Rolle—to the people
rather than to the professionally re¬
ligious class ; and all must be struck
by the constant employment in them
of imagery drawn from the common
life, the universal experience. It is
by the simplest metaphors, by con¬
stant appeals to needs, passions, re¬
lations which all men understand—
the bridegroom and bride, the guru
and disciple, the pilgrim, the farmer,
the migrant bird—that he drives home
his intense conviction of the reality
of the soul’s intercourse with the
Transcendent. There are in his uni¬
verse no fences between the “ natural ”
and “ supernatural ” worlds ; every¬
thing is a part of the creative Play
of God, and therefore—even in its
humblest details—capable of revealing
the Player’s mind.
This willing acceptance of the here-
and-now as a means of representing
supernal realities is a trait common
to the greatest mystics. For them,
when they have achieved at last the
true theopathetic state, all aspects of
the universe possess equal authority
as sacramental declarations of the
Presence of God ; and their fearless
employment of homely and physical
/ xxii
symbols—often startling and even re¬
volting to the unaccustomed taste—
is in direct proportion to the exaltation
of their spiritual life. The works of
the great Sufis, and amongst the
Christians of Jacopone da Todl, lluys-
broeckj Boehme, abound in illustra¬
tions of this law. Thei'efore we must
not be surprised to find in Kabir’s
songs—liis desperate attempts to com¬
municate his ecstasy and persuade
other men to share, it—a constant
juxtaposition of concrete and meta¬
physical language; swift alternations
between the most intensely anthro¬
pomorphic, the most subtly philo¬
sophical, ways of apprehending man’s
communion with the Divine. The
need for this alternation, and its entire
naturalness for the mind which em¬
ploys it, is rooted in his concept, or
vision, of the Nature of God; and
unless we make some attempt to
grasp this, we shall not go far in our
understanding of his poems.
Kabir belongs to that small group
of supreme mystics—amongst whom
St. Augustine, Ruysbroeck, and the
Sufi poet Jalalu’ddln RumI arc per¬
haps the chief—who have achieved
that which we might call the synthetic
vision of God. These have resolved
the perpetual opposition between the
pcrsoual and impersonal, the tran¬
scendent and immanent, static and
dynamic aspects of the Divine Nature ;
between the Absolute of philosophy
and the “ sure true Friend ” of de¬
votional religion. They have done
this, not by taking these apparently
incompatible concepts one after the
other; but by ascending to a height
of spiritual intuition at which they
arc, as Ruysbroeck said, “ melted and
merged in the Unity,” and perceived
as the completing opposites of a per-
feet Whole. This proceeding entails
for them—and both Kabir and Ruys-
broeck expressly acknowledge it — a
universe of three orders : Becoming,
Being, and that which is “ More than
Being,” i.e. God.1 God is here felt
to be not the final abstraction, but
the one actuality. He inspires, sup¬
ports, indeed inhabits, both the dura¬
tional, conditioned, finite world of
Becoming and the unconditioned, non-
successional, infinite world of Being;
yet utterly transcends them both.
He is the omnipresent Reality, the
“All-pervading” within Whom “the
worlds are being told like beads.”
In His personal aspect He is the
“ beloved Eakir,” teaching and com¬
panioning each soul. Considered as
Immanent Spirit, He is “ the Mind
within the mind.” But all these arc
at best partial aspects of His nature,
1 Nos. VII and XUX.
mutually corrective : as the Persons
in the Christian doctrine of the Trinity
—to which this theological diagram
bears a striking resemblance—repre¬
sent different and compensating ex¬
periences of the Divine Unity within
which they are resumed. As Ruys-
broeck discerned a plane of reality
upon which “ wc can speak no more
of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but
only of One Being, the very substance
of the Divine Persons ” ; so Kabir
says that “ beyond both the limited
and the limitless is He, the Pure
Being.” 1
Brahma, then, is the Ineffable Fact
compared with which “ the distinction
of the Conditioned from the Uncon¬
ditioned is but a word ” : at once the
utterly transcendent One of Absolutist
philosophy, and the personal Lover of
the individual soul—“ common to all
1 No. VII.
and special to each,” as one Christian
mystic has it. The need iV.lt by
Kabir for both these ways of describ¬
ing Reality is a proof of the richness,
and balance of his spiritual experience
which neither cosmic nor anthropo¬
morphic symbols, taken alone, could
express. More absolute Llum the Ab¬
solute, more personal than the human
mind, Brahma therefore exceeds whilst:
He includes all the concepts of philo¬
sophy, all the passionate intuitions of
the heart. lie is the Great Affirma¬
tion, the fount of energy, the sourcc
of life and love, the unique satis [’action
of desire. His creative word is the
Om or “ Everlasting Yea.” The nega¬
tive philosophy, which strips from the
Divine Nature all Its attributes and—*
defining Him only by that which He
is not—rcduces Him to an “ Empti¬
ness,” is abhorrent to this most vital
of poets. Brahma, he says, “ may
never be found in abstractions.” He
is the One Love who pervades the
world, discerned in His fullness only
by the eyes of love ; and those who
know Him thus share, though they
may never tell, the joyous and in¬
effable secret of the universe.1
Now Kabir, achieving this syn¬
thesis between the personal and cosmic
aspccts of the Divine Nature, eludes
the three great dangers which threaten
mystical religion.
First, he escapes the excessive emo¬
tionalism, the tendency to an ex¬
clusively anthropomorphic devotion,
tvhich results from an unrestricted
cult of Divine Personality, especially
under an incarnational form ; seen in
India in the exaggerations of Krishna
worship, in Europe in the sentimental
extravagances of certain Christian
1 Nos. VII. xwr, lxxvi, xc.
Next, he is protected from the soul-
destroying conclusions of pure monism,
inevitable if its logical implications are
pressed home : that is, the identity of
substance between God and the soul,
with its corollary of the total absorp¬
tion of that soul in the Being of God
as the goal of the spiritual life. For
the thorough-going rnonist the soul,
in so far as it is real, is substantially
identical with God; and the true
object of existence is the making
patent of this latent identity, the
realization which finds expression in
the Yedantist formula “ That art
thou.” But Kabir says that Braluna
and the creature are “ ever distinct,
yet ever united ” ; that the wise man
knows the spiritual as well as the
material world to “be no more than
His footstool.”1 The soul’s union
with Him is a love union, a mutual
1 Nos. VII and IX. '
inhabitation; that essentially dual-
istic relation which all mystical religion
expresses, not a self-mergence which
leaves no place for personality. This
eternal distinction, the mysterious
union-in-separateness of God and the
soul, is a necessary doctrine of all sane
mysticism ; for no scheme which fails
to find a place for it can represent
more than a fragment of that soul’s
intercourse with the spiritual world.
Its affirmation was one of the dis¬
tinguishing features of the Yaishnavite
reformation prcached by Ramanuja;
the principle of which had descended
through Ramananda to Kabir.
Last, the warmly human and direct
apprehension of God as the supreme
Object of love, the soul’s comrade,
teacher, and bridegroom, which is so
passionately and frequently expressed
in Kabir’s poems, balances and con¬
trols those abstract tendencies which
are inherent in the metaphysical side
of his vision of Reality : and prevents
it from degenerating into that sterile
worship of intellectual formulae which
became the curse of the Vcdantisfc
school. For the mere intellcctualist,
as for the mere pietist, lie has little
approbation.1 Love is throughout his
“ absolute sole Lord ” :	the	unique
source of the more abundant life which
he enjoys, and the common factor
which unites the finite and infinite
worlds. All is soaked in love : that
love which he described in almost
Johannine language as the “ Form
of God.” The whole of crcation is
the Play of the Eternal Lover; the
living, changing, growing expression of
Brahma’s love and joy. As these twin
passions preside over the generation
of human life, so “ beyond the mists
1 Cf. especially Nos, LIX, LXVII, LXXV, XC,
of pleasure and pain,” Kabir finds
them governing the creative acts of
God. His manifestation is love ; His
activity is joy. Creation springs from
one glad act of affirmation:	the
Everlasting Yea, perpetually uttered
within the depths of the Divine
Nature.1 In accordance with this con¬
cept of the universe as a Love-Game
which eternally goes forward, a pro¬
gressive manifestation of Brahma—
one of the many notions which he
adopted from the common stock of
Hindu religious ideas, and illuminated
by his poetic genius — movement,
rhythm, perpetual change, forms an
integral part of Kabir’s vision of
Reality. Though the Eternal and Ab¬
solute is ever present to his conscious¬
ness, yet his concept of the Divine
Nature is essentially dynamic. It is
by the symbols of motion that he rnosf
1 Nos. xvir, XXVI, LXXVI, LXXXII.
6ftcn tries to convoy it to us : as in
his constant reference to dancuig, or
the strangely modem picturc of that
Eternal Swing of the Universe which
is “ held by the cords of love.” 1
It is a marked characteristic of
mystical literature that the great con-
templatives, in their effort to convey
to us the nature of their communion
with the supersensuous, are inevitably
driven to employ some form of scnsu-i
ous imagery : coarse and inaccurate
as they know such imagery to be,
even at the best. Our normal human
consciousness is -so completely com¬
mitted to dependence on the senses,
that the fruits of intuition itself
are instinctively referred to them.
In that intuition it seems to the
mystics that all the dim cravings
and partial apprehensions of sense
find perfect fulfilment. Hence their
i No. XVI.
constant declaration that they see the
uncreated light, they hear the celestial
melody, they taste the sweetness of
the, Lord, they know an ineffable
fragrance, they feel the very contact
of love. “ Him verily seeing and fully
feeling, Him spiritually hearing and
Him delectably smelling and sweetly
swallowing,” as Julian of Norwich
has it. In those amongst them who
develop psycho-sensorial automatisms
these parallels between sense and spirit
may present themselves to conscious¬
ness in the form of hallucinations : as
the light seen by Suso, the music
heard by Rolle, the celestial perfumes
which filled St. Catherine of Siena’s
cell, the physical wounds felt by St,
Francis and St. Teresa. These are
excessive dramatizations of the sym¬
bolism under which the mystic tends
instinctively to represent his spiritual
intuition to the surface consciousness.
Here, in the special sense-pereeption
which he feels to he most expressive
of Reality, his peculiar idiosyncrasies
come out.
Now Kabir, as wc might expect in
one whose reactions to the spiritual
order were so wide and various, uses
by turn all the symbols of sense. He
tells us that he has “ seen without
sight ” the effulgence of Brahma,
tasted the divine nectar, felt the
ecstatic contact of Reality, smelt, the
fragrance of the heavenly flowers.
But he was essentially a poet and
musician : rhythm and harmony were
to him the garments of beauty and
truth. Hence in his lyrics he shows
himself to be, like Richard Rolle,
above all things a musical mystic.
Creation, he says again and again, is
full of music : it is music. At the
heart of the Universe “ white music
is blossoming ” :	love weaves the
melody, whilst renunciation beats the
time. It can be heard in the home as
well as in the heavens ; discerned by
the ears of common men as well as
by the trained senses of the ascetic.
Moreover, the body of every man is
a lyre on which Brahma, “ the source
of all music,” plays. Everywhere
Kabir discerns the “ Unstruck Music
of the Infinite ”—that celestial melody
which the angel played to St. Francis,
that ghostly symphony which filled
the soul of Rolle with ecstatic joy.1
The one figure which he adopts from
the Hindu Pantheon and constantly
uses, is that of Krishna the Divine
Flute Player.2 He secs the supernal
music, too, in its visual embodiment,
as rhythmical movement: that mys¬
terious dance of the universe before
the face of Brahma, which is at once
* Nos. L, LOT, LXVIII.
an act of worship and an expression
of the infinite rapture of the Im¬
manent God.1
Yet in this wide and rapturous vision
of the universe Kabir never loses
touch with diurnal existence, never
forgets the common life. His feet
are firmly planted upon earth ; his
lofty and passionate apprehensions
are perpetually controlled by the
activity of a sane and vigorous in¬
tellect, by the alert common sense
so often found in persons of real mys¬
tical genius. The constant insist¬
ence on simplicity and directness, the
hatred of all abstractions and philoso¬
phizings,2 the ruthless criticism of ex¬
ternal religion: these are amongst his
most marked characteristics. God is
the Root whence all manifestations,
“ material ” and “ spiritual,” alike
proceed ; and God is the only need of
man—“ happiness shall be yours when
you come to the Root.” 1 Hence to
those who keep their eye on the “ one
thing needful,” denominations, creeds,
ceremonies, the conclusions of philo¬
sophy, the disciplines of asceticism,
are matters of comparative indiffer¬
ence. They represent merely the
different angles from which the soul
may approach that simple union with
Brahma which is its goal; and are
useful only in so far as they contribute
to this consummation. So thorough¬
going is Kabir’s eclecticism, that he
seems by turns Vedantist and Vaishna-
vite, Pantheist and Transcendental]st,
Brahman and Sufi. In the effort to
tell the truth about that ineffable
apprehension, so vast and yet so near,
which controls his life, he seizes and
twines together—as he might have
' No. I,XXX.
woven together contrasting threads
upon his loom—symbols and ideas
drawn from the most violent and
conflicting philosophies and faiths. All
are needed, if he is ever to suggest
the character of that One whom the
Upanishad called “ the Sun-coloured
Being who is beyond this Darkness ” :
as all the colours of the spectrum are
needed if we would demonstrate the
simple richness of white light. In
thus adapting traditional materials
to his own use he follows a method
common amongst the mystics ; who
seldom exhibit any special love for
originality of form. They will pour
their wine into almost any vessel that
comes to hand : generally using by
preference—and lifting to new levels
of beauty and significance—the re¬
ligious or philosophic formulae current
in their own day. Thus we find that
some of Kabir’s finest poems have
as their subjects the commonplaces
of Hindu philosophy and religion:
the Lila, or Sport, of God, the Ocean
of Bliss, the Bird of the Soul, Maya,
the Hundred-petalled Lotus, and the
“ Formless Form.” Many, again, are
soaked in Sufi imagery and feeling.
Others use as their material the
ordinary surroundings and incidents
of Indian life : the temple bells, the
ceremony of the lamps, marriage,
suttee, pilgrimage, the characters of
the seasons; all felt by him in their
mystical aspect, as sacraments of
the soul’s relation with Brahma. In
many of these a particularly beautiful
and intimate feeling for Nature is
In the collection of songs here trans¬
lated there will be found examples
which illustrate nearly every aspect
of Kabir’s thought, and all the fluctua-
1 Nos. XV, XX11I, L.XVII, LXXXVII, xcvra.
tions of the mystic’s emotion :	the
ecstasy, the despair, the still beatitude,
the eager self-devotion, the flashes of
wide illumination, the moments oi!
intimate love. His wide and deep
vision of the universe, the “ Eternal
Sport ” of creation (lxxxii), the
worlds being “ told like beads ” within
the Being of God (xxv, xvi, xvix,
lxxvi), is here seen balanced by his
lovely and delicate sense of intimate
communion with the Divine Friend,
Lover, Teacher of the soul (x, xi,
XXIII, xxxv, LI, i,xxxv, lxxxvi,
lxxxviii, xcii, xciij ; above all, the
beautiful poem xxxiv). As these
apparently paradoxical views of
Reality are resolved in Brahma, so
all other opposites are reconciled
in Him : bondage and liberty, love
and renunciation, pleasure and pain
(xvn, xxv, xl, lxxxix). Union with
Him is the one thing that matters
to the soul, its destiny and its need
(li, hi, liy, lxx, lxxiv, xciii,
xcvi) ; and this union, this dis¬
covery of God, is the simplest and
most natural of all things, if we would
but grasp it (xli, xlvi, lvi, lxxii,
lxxvi, Lxxvm, xcyii). The union,
however, is brought about by love,
not by knowledge or ceremonial
observances (xxxviii, liv, lv, lix,
xci) ; and the apprehension which
that union confers is ineffable—
“ neither This nor That,” as Ruys-
broeck has it (ix, xlvi, lxxvi).
Real worship and communion is in
Spirit and in Truth (xl, xli, lvi,
lxiii, lxv, lxx), therefore idolatry
is an insult to the Divine Lover
(xlii, lxix) and the devices of
professional sanctity are useless apart
from charity and purity of soul (liv,
lxv, lxvi). Since all things, and
especially the heart of man, are
God-inhabited, God-possessed (xxvi,
lvi, lxxvi, lxxxix, xcvii), He
may best be found in the herc-and-
now: in the normal, human, bodily
existence, the “ mud ” of material
life (iii, iv, vi, xxi, xxxix, xl,
xliii, xl vm, lxxii). “We can
reach the goal without crossing the
road” (lxxvi) — not the cloister but
the home is the proper theatre of
man’s efforts : and if he cannot find
God there, he need not hope for
success by going farther afield. “ In
the home is reality.” There love
and detachment, bondage and free¬
dom, joy and pain play by turns
upon the soul; and it is from their
conflict that the Unstruck Music of
the Infinite proceeds. “ Kabir says :
None but Brahma can evoke ifcjs
This version of Kabir’s songs is
chiefly the work of Mr. Rabindranath
Tagore, the trend of whose mystical
genius makes him—as all who read
these poems will sec—a peculiarly
sympathetic interpreter of Kablr’s
vision and thought. It has been based
upon the printed Hindi text with
Bengali translation of Mr. Kshiti
Mohan Sen; who has gathered from
many sources—sometimes from books
and manuscripts, sometimes from the
lips of wandering ascetics and min¬
strels—a large collection of poems
and hymns to which Kabir’s name is
attached, and carefully sifted the
authentic songs from the many spuri¬
ous works now attributed to him.
These painstaking labours alone have
made the present undertaking possible.
We have also had before us a
manuscript English translation of 116
songs made by Mr. A. jit Kumar
Chakravarty from Mr. Kshiti Mohan
Sen’s text, and a prose essay upon
Kabir from the same hand. From
these we have derived great assistance.
A considerable number of readings
from the translation have been adopted
by us; whilst several of the facts
mentioned in the essay have been in¬
corporated into this Introduction. Our
most grateful thanks arc due to Mr.
Ajit Kumar Chakravarty for the ex¬
tremely generous and unselfish manner
in which he has placed his work at our
E. U.
The reference of the headlines of the
poems is to:
Santiniketana; Kabir by 6rl Ksliiti-
mohan Sen, 4 parts, Ikahmaehai'yas-
rama, Bolpur, 1910-11.
¥or some assistance in normalizing
the transliteration we are indebted to
Prof. J. F. Blumliardt.
I. 13. mo ho kahdn dhunfo bande
0 servant, where dost thou seek Me ?
Lo ! I am beside thee.
1 am neither in temple nor in mosque :
I am neither in Kaaba nor in
Kailash :
Neither am I in rites and ceremonies,
nor in Yoga and renunciation.
If thou art a true seeker, thou shalt at
once see Me : thou shalt meet Me
in a moment of time.
Kabir says, “ O Sadhu ! God is the
breath of all breath.”
1.16. santan jdt na pucho nirgutyiyan
It is needless to ask of a saint the caste
to which he belongs ;
TB	l	B
For the priest, the warrior, 1,1k: trades¬
man, and all the thirty-six castes,'
alike arc seeking for God.
It is but folly to ask what the eastc
of a saint may be ;
The barber has sought God, the
washerwoman, and the carpenter—
Even Raidas was a seeker after God.
The Rishi Swapacha was a tanner by
Hindus and Moslems alike have
achieved that End, where remains
no mark of distinction.
I. 57. sadho bhal, jivat hi karo did
O friend ! hope for Him whilst you
live, know whilst you live, under¬
stand whilst you live : for in life
deliverance abides.
If your bonds be not broken whilst
living, what hope of deliverance
in death ?
It is but an empty dream, that the soul
shall have union with Him because
it has passed from the body :
If He is found now, He is found then,
If not, we do but go to dwell in the
City of Death.
If you have union now, you shall have
it hereafter.
Bathe in the truth, know the true
Guru, have faith in the true Name !
Kabir says : “It is the Spirit of the
quest which helps ; I am the slave
of this Spirit of the quest.”
I. 58. bago nd ja re nd ja
Do not go to the garden of flowers S
O Friend 1 go not there ;
In your body is the garden of flowers.
Take your seat on the thousand petals
of the lotus, and there gaze on fche
Infinite Beauty.
I. 63. avadku, mayd tajl na jay
Tell me, Brother, how can I renounce
Maya ?
When I gave up the tying of ribbons,
still I tied my garment about me :
When I gave up tying my garment,
still I covered my body in its folds.
So, when I give up passion, I see that
anger remains ;
And when I renounce anger, greed is
with me still;
And when greed is vanquished, pride
and vainglory remain ;
When the mind is detached and. casts
Maya away, still it clings to the
Kabir ■says, “ Listen to me, dear
Sadhu ! the true path is rarely
I.	83. canda jhallcai yahi ghat mahm
The moon shines in my body, but my
blind eyes cannot see it :
The moon is within me, and so is the
The unstruck drum of Eternity is
sounded within me ; but my deaf
ears cannot hear it.
So long as man clamours for the 1
and the Mine, his works are as
When all love of the I and the Mine
is dead, then the work of the Lord
is done.
For work has no other aim than the
getting of knowledge :
When that comes, then work is put
The flower blooms for the fruit: when
the fruit comes, the flower withers.
The musk is in the deer, but it seeks
it not within itself: it wanders
in quest of grass.
L 85. sadho, Brahm alaJch lakhaya
When He Himself reveals Himself.
Brahma brings into manifestation.
That which can never be seen.
As the seed is in the plant, as the shade
is in the tree, as the void is in the
sky, as infinite forms are in the
So from beyond the Infinite, the
Infinite comes ; and from the In¬
finite the finite extends.
The creature is in Brahma, and
Brahma is in the creature : they
are ever distinct, yet ever united.
He Himself is the tree, the seed, and
the germ.
He Himself is the flower, the fruit,
and the shade.
He Himself is the sun, the light, and
the lighted.
He Himself is Brahma, creature, and
He Himself is the manifold form, the
infinite space ;
He is the breath, the word, and the
He Himself is the limit and the limit¬
less : and beyond both the limited
and the limitless is He, the Pure
He is the Immanent Mind in Brahma
and in the creature.
The Supreme Soul is seen within the
The Point is seen within the Supreme
And within the Point, the reflection
is seen again.
Kabir is blest because he has this
supreme vision!
I.	101. is ghat antar bag ha glee
Within this earthcrn vessel are bowers
and groves, and within it is the
Within this vessel are the seven oceans.
and the unnumbered stars.
The touchstonc and the jcwel-
appraiser are within ;
And within this vessel the Internal
soundeth, and the spring wells,
Kabir says:	“	Listen	to	me, my
friend ! My beloved Lord is with-
I.	104. aisd lo naMn taisa lo
O how may I ever express that secret
word ?
O how can I say He is not like this,
and He is like that ?
If I say that He is within me, the
universe is ashamed :
If I say that He is without me, it is
He makes the inner and the outer
worlds to be indivisibly one ;
The conscious and the unconscious,
both are His footstools.
He is neither manifest nor hidden,
He is neither revealed nor un¬
revealed :
There are no words to tell that which
He is.
I.	121. tohi mori lagan lagaye
re phakir wd
To Thee Thou hast drawn my love, O
Fakir I
I was sleeping in my own chamber,
and Thou didst awaken me;
striking me with Thy voice, O
Fakir I
I was drowning in the deeps of the
ocean of this world, and Thou
didst save me : upholding me with
Thine arm, O Fakir 1
Only one word and no second—and
Thou hast made me tear off all
my bonds, O Fakir 1
Kabir says, “ Thou hast united Thy
heart to rnj. heart, O Fakir 1 ”
I.	131. niJ din khelat rahl
sakhiydn sang
I played day and night with my
comrades, and now I am greatly
So high is my Lord’s palace, my heart
trembles to mount its stairs : yet
I must not be shy, if I would enjoy
His love.
My heart must cleave to my Lover; I
must withdraw my veil, and meet
Him with all my body :
Mine eyes must perform the ceremony
of the lamps of love.
Kabir says : “ Listen to me, friend :
he understands who loves. If you
feel not love’s longing for your
Beloved One, it is vain to adorn
your body, vain to put unguent on
your eyelids.”
II. 24. hamsa, haho puratan bat
Tell me, O Swan, your ancient talc.
From what land do you come, O
Swan ? to what shore will you
% 1
Where would you take your rest, O
Swan, and what do you seek ?
Even this morning, O Swan, awake,,
arise, follow me !
There is a land where no doubt nor
sorrow have rule : where the terror
of Death is no more.
There the woods of spring arc a-bloom,.
and the fragrant scent “ He is 1 ’*
is borne on the wind :
There the bee of the heart is deeply
immersed, and desires no other
II. 37. ahga^hiya deva
O Lord Increate, who will serve
Thee ?
Every votary offers his worship to the
God of his own creation : each day
he receives service—
None seek Him, the Perfect: Brahma,
the Indivisible Lord.
They believe in ten Avatars ; but no
Avatar can be the Infinite Spirit,
for he suffers the results of his
deeds :
The Supreme One must be other than
The Yogi, the Sanyasi, the Ascetics,
are disputing one with another:
Kabir says, “ O brother ! he who has
seen that radiance of love, he is
II. 56. dariya Id lahar dariydo hat p
The river and its waves are one surf:
where is the difference between the
river and its waves ?
When the wave rises, it is the water;
and when it falls, it is the same
water again. Tell me, Sir, where
is the distinction ?
Because it has been named as wave,
shall it no longer be considered as
water ?
Within the Supreme Brahma, the
worlds are being told like beads :
Look upon that rosary with the eyes
of wisdom.
II. 57. janh khelat vasant riturdj
Where Spring, the lord of the seasons,
reigncth, there the Unstruck Music
sounds of itself,
There the streams of light flow in all
directions ;
Few are the men who can cross to
that shore !
There, where millions of Krishnas
stand with hands folded,
Where millions of Vishnus how their
Where millions of Brahmas are reading
the Vcdas,
Where millions of Shivas are lost in
Where millions of Indras dwell in the
. sky,
Where the demi-gpds and the munis
arc unnumbered.
Where millions of Saraswatis, Goddess
of Music, play on the vina—
There is my Lord self-revealed : and
the scent of sandal and {lowers
dwells in those deeps.
II. 59. janh cet a cel Ichambh dfnt
Between the poles of the conscious
and the unconscious, there has the
mind made a swing :
Thereon hang all beings and all worlds,
and that swing never ceases its
Millions of beings are there : the sun
and the moon in their courses are
there :
Millions of ages pass, and the swing
goes on.
All swing t the sky and the earth
and the air and the water; and
the Lord Himself taking form :
And the sight of this has made Kabir
a servant.
II. 61. grah candra tapanjot
barat hai
The light of the sun, the moon, and
the stars shines bright :
The melody of love swells forth, and
the rhythm of love’s detachment
beats the time.
Day and night, the chorus of music
fills the heavens; and Kabir
■“ My Beloved One gleams like the
lightning flash in the sky.”
Do you know how the moments per¬
form their adoration ?
Waving its row of lamps, the universe
sings in worship day and night,
There are the hidden banner and the
secret canopy :
There the sound of the unseen bells is
Kabir says : “ There adoration never
ceases; there the Lord of the
Universe sitteth on His throne.”
The whole world does its works and
commits its errors : but few arc the
lovers who know the Beloved.
The dc.vout seeker is he who mingles
in his heart the double currents
of love and detachment, like the
mingling of the streams of Ganges
and Jumna;
In his heart the sacred water flows
day and night; and thus the
round of births and deaths is
brought to an end.
Behold what wonderful rest is in the
Supreme Spirit! and he enjoys it,
who makes himself meet for it.
Held by the cords of love, the swing of
the Ocean of Joy sways to and fro ;
and a mighty sound breaks forth
in song.
See what a lotus blooms there without
water ! and Kabir says,
“ My heart’s bee drinks its nectar.”
What a wonderful lotus it is, that
blooms at the heart of the spinning
wheel of the universe! Only a few
■ pure souls know of its true delight.
Music is all around it, and there the
heart partakes of the joy of the
Infinite Sea,
Kabir says : “ Dive thou into that
Ocean of sweetness : thus let all
errors of life and of death flee
Behold how the thirst of the five
senses is quenched there ! and the
three l'oxms ol misery are no more !
Kabir says : “ It is the sport of the
Unattainable One :	look	within,
and bcholcl how the moonbeams
of that Hidden One shine in you.”
There falls the rhythmic beat of Jife
and death :
Rapture wells forth, and all space is
radiant with light.
There the Unstruck Music is sounded ;
it is the music of the love of the
three worlds.
There millions of lamps of sun and of
moon are burning;
There the drum beats, and the lover
swings in play.
There love-songs resound, and light
rains in showers ; and the wor¬
shipper is entranced in the taste
of the heavenly nectar.
Look upon life and death ; there is no
separation between them,
The right hand and the left hand are
one and the same.
Kabir says : “ There the wise man is
speechless; for this truth may
never be found in Vedas or in
1 have had my Seat on the Self-poised
I have drunk of tiie Cup of the In¬
I have found the Key of the Mystery,
I have reached the Root of Union.
Travelling by no track, I have come
to the Sorrowless Land:	very
easily has the mercy of the great
Lord come upon me.
They have sung of Him as infinite and
unattainable : but I in my medita¬
tions have seen Him without sight.
That is indeed the sorrowless land, and
none know the path that leads
there :
Only he who is on that path has surely
transcended all sorrow.
Wonderful is that land of rest, to which
no merit can win ;
It is the wise who has seen ib, it is
the wise who has sung of it.
This is the Ultimate Word : but can
any express its marvellous savour ?
He who has savoured it once, he
knows what joy it can give.
Kabir says : “ Knowing it, the ignor¬
ant man becomes wise, and the
wise man becomes speechless and
The worshipper is utterly inebriated,
His wisdom and his detachment are
made perfect;
He drinks from the cup of the in¬
breathings and the outbrcathings
of love.”
There the whole sky is filled with
sound, and there that music is
made without fingers and without
strings ;
There the game of pleasure and pain
does not cease.
Kabir says : “ If you merge ypur life
in the Ocean of Life, you will
find your life in the Supreme
Land of Bliss.”
What a frenzy of ecstasy there is in
every hour ! and the worshipper
is pressing out and drinking the
essence of the hours •. he lives in
the life of Brahma.
I speak truth, for I have accepted
truth in life; I am now attached
to truth, I have swept all tinsel
Kabir says : “ Thus is the worshipper
set free from fear ; thus have all
errors of life and of death left him.”
There the sky is filled with music :
There it rains nectar :
There the harp - strings jingle, and
there the drums beat.
What a secret splendour is there, in
the mansion of the sky !
There no mention is made of the rising
and the setting of the sun ;
In the ocean of manifestation, which
is the light of love, day and night
are felt to be one.
Joy for ever, no sorrow, no struggle !
There have I seen joy filled to the
brim, perfection of joy ;
No place for error is there.
Kabir says : “ There have I witnessed
the sport of One Bliss ! ”
I have known in my body the sport
of the universe : I have escaped
from the error of this world.
The inward and the outward arc
become as one sky, the Infinite
and the finite are united : I am
drunken with the sight of this
This Light of Thine fulfils the uni¬
verse : the lamp of love that burns
on the salver of knowledge.
Kabir says:	“	There	error	cannot
enter, and the conflict of life and
death is felt no more.”
II. 77. maddh aka§ dp jahan baithe
The middle region of the sky, wherein
the spirit dwelleth, is radiant with
the music of light;
There, where the pure and white
music blossoms, my Lord takes
His delight.
In the wondrous effulgence of each
hair of His body, the brightness
of millions of suns and of moons
is lesL
On that shore there is a Vp'y, There
the rain of nectar pours and pours,
and never ceases.
Kabir says : “ Como, O Dharmadas t
and see my great Lord’s Durbar.”
II. 20. pararnatam guru nihat. virajain
O my heart ! the Supreme Spirit, the
great Master, is near you : wake,
oh wake!
Run to the feet of your Beloved : for
your Lord stands near to your
You have slept for unnumbered ages ;
this morning will you not wake ?
II. 22, man tu par utar kanhjaiho
To what shore would you cross, O
my heart ? there is no traveller
before you, there is no road :
Where is the movement, where is the
rest, on that shore ?
There is no water; no boat, no boat
man, is there ;
There is not so much as a rope
to tow the boat, nor a man to
draw it.
No earth, no sky, no time, 110 thing,
is there : no shore, no ford !
There, there is neither body nor mind :
and where is the place that shall
still the thirst of the soul ? You
shall find naught in that empti¬
Be strong, and enter into your own
body : for there your foothold is
firm. Consider it well, O my heart!
go not elsewhere.
Kabir says : “ Put all imaginations
away, and stand fast in that which
you are.*'
II. 33. ghar ghar dlpak barai
Lamps burn in every house, O blind
one ! and you cannot sec them.
One day your eyes shall suddenly be
opened, and you shall see : and
the fetters of death will fall from
There is nothing to say or to hear,
there is nothing to do : it is he who
is living, yet dead, who shall never
die again.
Because he lives in solitude, therefore
the Yogi says that his home is far
Your Lord is near ; yet you are climb¬
ing the palm-tree to seek Hirn.
The Brahman priest goes from house
to house and initiates people into
faith :
Alas! the true fountain of life is
beside you, and you have set up a
stone to worship.
Kabir says : “I may never express
how sweet my Lord is. Yoga and
the telling of beads, virtue and
vice—these are naught to Him.”
II. 38. sddho, so satgur mohi bhdwai
0 jbrotiieb, my heart yearns for that
true Guru, who fills the cup of
true love, and drinks of it himself,
and offers it then to me.
He removes the veil from the eyes, and
gives the true Vision of Brahma :
He reveals the worlds in Him, and
makes me to hear the Unstvuck
Music :
He shows joy and sorrow to be one :
He fills all utterance with love.
Kabir says : “ Verily he has no fear,
who has such a Guru to lead him
to the shelter of safety ! ”
II. 40. tinwir sdnjh led gahira awai
Tiie shadows of evening (all thick
and deep, and the darkness of love
envelops the body and the mind.
Open the window to the west, and be
lost in the sky of love ;
Drink the sweet honey that steeps the
petals of the lotus of the heart.
Receive the waves in your body : what
splendour is in the region of the
sea !
Hark ! the sounds of conches and bells
are rising.
Kabir says : “ O brother, behold ! the
Lord is in this vessel of my
II. 48, jis se rahani apar jagat men
More than all else do I cherish at
heart that love which makes me
to live a limitless life in this
It is like the lotus, which lives in the
water and blooms in the water :
yet the water cannot touch its
petals, they open beyond its
It is like a wife, who enters the fire
at the bidding of love. She burns
and lets others grieve, yet never
dishonours love.
This occan of the world is hard to
cross : its waters are very deep.
Kabir says :	“ Listen to me, (7
Sadhu ! few there are who have
rr'fiched its find.”
II. 45. Hari ne apna dp chipdyd
My Lord hides Himself, and my Lord
wonderfully reveals Himself:
My Lord has encompassed me with
hardness, and my Lord has east
down my limitations.
My Lord brings to me words of sorrow
and words oJ joy, and He HimseU
heals their strife.
I will offer my body and mind to my
Lord : I will give up my life, but
never can I forget my Lord !
II. 75. onkar siwde kol sirjai
All things are created by the Oro
The love-form is His body.
He is without form, without quality,
without decay :
Seek thou union with Him !
But that formless God takes a
thousand forms in the eyes of His
crcaturcs :
lie is pure and indestructible,
His form is infinite and fathomless,
He dances in rapture, and waves of
form arise from His dance.
The body and the mind cannot contain
themselves, when they arc touched
by Ilis great joy.
I le is immersed in all consciousness,
all joys, and all sorrows ;
He has no beginning and no end ;
lie holds all within His bliss.
II. 81. satgur sol daya kar dinhd
It is the mercy of my true Guru that
has made me to know the un¬
known ;
I have learned from Him how to walk
without feet, to see without eyes,
to hear without ears, to drink with¬
out mouth, to fly without wings ;
I have brought my love and my
meditation into the land where
there is no sun and moon, nor day
and night.
Without eating, I have tasted of the
sweetness of nectar ; and without
water, I have quenched my thirst.
Where there is the response of delight,
there is the fullness of joy.' Before
whom can that joy be uttered ?
Kabir says:	“	The Guru is great
beyond words, and great is the
good fortune of the disciple.”
II. 85. nirgun age sargntj, nacai
Before the Unconditioned, the Con¬
ditioned dances :
“ Thou and I are one ! ” this trumpet
The Guru comes, and bows down
before the disciple :
This is the greatest of wonders.
II. 87. Kabir kab se bhaye vairagl
Gorakiinath asks Kabir:
“ Tell me, 0 Kabir, when did your
vocation begin ? Where did your
love have its rise ? ”
Kabir answers :
When He whose forms are manifold
had not begun His play: when
there was no Guru, and no disciple :
when the world was not spread
out: when the Supreme One was
Then I became an ascetic ; then, O
Gorakh, my love was drawn to
Brahma did not hold the crown on
his head ; the god Vishnu was not
anointed as king; the power of
Shiva was still unborn; when I
was instructed in Yoga,
“ I became suddenly revealed in
Benares, and Ramananda illumined
me ;
I brought with me the thirst for the
Infinite, and I have come for the
meeting with Him.
In simplicity will I unite with the
Simple One; my love will surge up.
0 Gorakh, march thou with His
music ! ”
II. 95. yd tarvar men eh pakheru
On this tree is a bird : it dances in the
joy of life.
None knows where it is : and whfi.
knows what the burden of its
music mav be ?
Where the branches throw a deep
shade, there does it have its nest:
and it comes in the evening and
flies away in the morning, and says
not a word of that which it means.
None tell me of this bird that sings
within me.
It is neither coloured nor colourless :
it has neither form nor outline :
It sits in the shadow of love.
It dwells within the Unattainable, the
Infinite, and the Eternal; and no
one marks when it comes and goes.
Kabir says :	“	0 brother Sadhu!
deep is the mystery. Let wise men
seek to know where rests that
II.	100.	wtt	din salai ghaw
A	sore	pain troubles me day	and
night, and I cannot sleep ;
I	long	for	the	meeting with	my
Beloved,	and	my father’s house
gives me pleasure no more.
The gates of the sky are opened, the
temple is revealed :
I meet my husband, and leave at His
feet the offering of my body and
my mind.
II.	103. naco re mero man, matta hoy
Dance, my heart! dance to-day with
The strains of love fill the days and
the nights with music, and the
world is listening to its melodies :
Mad with joy, life and death dance
to the rhythm of this music. The
hills and the sea and the earth
dance. The world of man dances
in laughter and tears.
Why put on the robe of the monk, and
live aloof from the world in lonely
pride ?
Behold ! my heart dances in the de¬
light of a hundred arts; and the
Creator is well pleased.
II.	105. man mast hud tab kyon bole
Where is the need of words, when
love has made drunken the
heart ?
I have wrapped the diamond in my
cloak; why open it again and
again ?
When its load was light, the pan of
the balance went up : now it is
full, where is the need for weigh¬
The swan has taken its flight to the
lake beyond the mountains ; why
should it search for the pools and
ditches any more ?
Your Lord dwells within you : why
need your outward eyes be opened ?
Kabir says : “ Listen, my brother !
my Lord, who ravishes my eyes,
has united Himself with me.”
II.	110. mohi tohi lagl Jcaise chute
How could the love between Thee and
me sever ?
As the leaf of the lotus abides on the
water : so thou art my Lord, and
I am Thy servant.
As the night-bird Chakor gazes all
night at the moon : so Thou art
my Lord and I am Thy servant.
From the beginning until the ending
of time, there is love between
Thee and me ; and how shal] such
love be extinguished ?
Kabir says :	“As the river enters
into the ocean, so my heart touches
II.	113. vdlam, dwo hamare geh re
My body and my mind are grieved for
the want of Thee ;
O my Beloved ! come to my house.
When people say I am Thy bride, I
am ashamed; for I have not
touched Thy heart with my heart.
TVif'-n ui/Wt. is t.Viis love nf mine ? I
have no taste for food, I have no
sleep ; my heart is ever restless
within doors and without.
As water is to the thirsty, so is the
lover to the bride. Who is there
that will carry my news to my
Beloved ?
Kabir is restless : he is dying for sight
of Him.
II.	126. jag piyarl, ab han sowai
0 friend, awake, and sleep no
The night is over and gone, would you
lose your day also ?
Others, who have wakened, have re¬
ceived jewels;
O foolish woman ! you have lost all
whilst you slept.
Your lover is wise, and you are foolish,
O woman!
You never prepared the bed of your
O mad one ! you passed your time in
silly play.
Your youth was passed in vain, for
you did not know your Lord;
Wake, wake! See ! your bed is
empty:	He left you in the
night. *
Kabir says : “ Only she wakes, whose
heart is pierced with the arrow
of His music.”
1.36. sur parkatf, tank rain hahdn paiye
Where is the night, when the sun is
shining ? If it is night, then the
sun withdraws its light.
Where knowledge is, can ignorance
endure ? If there be ignorance,
If there be lust, how can love be there f
Where there is love, there is na
Lay hold on your sword, and join ill
the fight. Fight, O my brother,,
as long as life lasts.
Strike off your enemy’s head, and there
make an end of him quickly : then
come, and bow your head at your
King’s Durbar.
Tie who is brave, never forsakes the
battle : he who flies from it is no*
true fighter.
In the field of this body a great
war goes forward, against passion,
anger, pride, and greed :
It is in the kingdom of truth, content¬
ment and purity, that this battle
is raging; and the sword that
rings forth most loudly is the
sword of His Name,
Kabir says : “ When a brave knight
takes Lhc field, a host of cowards
is put to flight.
It is a hard fight and a weary one, this
fight of the truth-seeker : for the
vow of the truth-seeker is more
hard than that of the warrior, or
of the widowed wife who would
follow her husband.
For the warrior fights for a few hours,
and the widow’s struggle with
death is soon ended :
But the truth-seeker’s battle goes on
day and night, as long as life lasts
it never ccases.”
I. 50, bhram kd tala lagd mahal re
The lock of error shuts the gate, open
it with the key of love:
Thus, by opening the door, thou shalt
wake the Beloved.
Kabir says : “ O brother ! do not pass
by such good fortune as this.”
I. 59. sadho, yah tan thdth tanvure ka
O friend ! this body is Ilis lyre ;
He tightens its strings, and draws
from it the melody of Brahma,
If the strings snap and the keys
slacken, then to dust must this
instrument of dust return :
Kabir says : “ None but Brahma can
evoke its melodies.”
I. 65. avadhu bhule Ico ghar Idwe
He is dear to me indeed who can call
back the wanderer to his home.
In the home is the true union, in
the home is enjoyment of life:
why should I forsake my home and
wander in the forest ? If Brahma
helps me to realize truth, yerily
I will find both bondage and de¬
liverance in home.
He is dear to me indeed who has
power to dive deep into Brahma ;
whose mind loses itself with ease
in His contemplation.
He is dear to me who knows Brahma,
and can dwell on His supreme
truth in meditation ; and who can
play the melody of the Infinite
by uniting love and renunciation
in life.
Kabir says : “ The home is the abiding
place ; in the home is reality ; the
home helps to attain Him Who
is real. So stay where you are,
and all things shall come to you in
I. 76. santo, sahaj sam&dh bhcdi
0 Sadhu 1 the simple union is the
Since the day when I met with my
Lord, there has been no end to the
sport of our love.
1 shut not my eyes, I close not my
ears, I do not mortify my body;
I see with eyes open and smile, and
behold His beauty everywhere :
I utter His Name, and whatever I see,
it reminds me of Him ; whatever
I do, it becomes His worship.
The rising and the setting arc one to
me ; all contradictions are solved.
Wherever I go, I move round Him,
All I achieve is His service
When I lie down, I lie prostrate at
His feet.
He is the only adorable one to me : I
have none other.
My tongue has left off impure words,
it sings His glory day and night:
Whether I rise or sit down, I can
never forget Him ; for the rhythm
of His music beats in my ears.
Kabir says : “ My heart is frenzied,
and I disclose in my soul what is
hidden. I am immersed in that
one great bliss which transcends
all pleasure and pain.”
I. 79. tiratli men to sab pan! hai
There is nothing but water at the
holy bathing places; and I know
that they are useless, for I have
bathed in them.
The images are all lifeless, they cannot
speak; I know, for I have cried
aloud to them.
The Parana and the Koran are mere
words ; lifting up the curtain, I
have seen.
Kabir gives utterance to the words of
expericncc; and he knows very-
well that all other tilings are un¬
I. 82. pdm vie mm piyasl
I laugh when I hear that the fish in
the water is thirsty :
You do not see that the Real is in
your home, and you wander from
forest to forest listlessly 1
Here is the truth! Go where you
will, to Benares or to Mathura;
if you do not find your soul, the
world is unreal to you.
I. 03. gagan math gaib nisdn gad#
The Hidden Banner is planted in the
temple of the sky ; there the bine
canopy decked with the moon and
set with bright jewels is spread.
There the light of the sun and the moon
is shining:	still your mind to
silence before that splendour.
Kabir says : “ He who has drunk of
this nectar, wanders like one who
is mad.”
I. 97. sadho, ko hai Jca#h se ayo
Who are you, and whence do you
come ?
Where dwells that Supreme Spirit, and
how does He have His sport with
all created things ?
The fire is in the wood; but who
awakens it suddenly ? Then it
turns to ashes, and where goes the
force of the fire ?
The true guru teaches that He has
neither limit nor infinitude.
Kabi’r says : “ Brahma suits His lan¬
guage to the understanding of His
I. 08. sadho, sahajai kdtjd dodho
O Sabiiu ! purify your body in the
simple way.
As the seed is within the banyan tree,
and within the seed are the flowers,
the fruits, and the shade :
So the germ is within the body, and
within that germ is the body again.
The fire, the air, the water, the carthj
and the aether ; you cannot have
these outside of Him.
O Kazi, O Pundit, consider it well:
what is there that is not in the
soul ?
The water-filled pitcher is placed upon
water, it has water within and
It should not he given a name, lest it
call forth the error of dualism.
Kabir says : “ Listen to the Word,
the Truth, which is your essence.
He speaks the Word to Himself;
and He Himself is the Creator.”
I. 102. tarvar eh mul bin thadd
There is a strange tree, which stands
without roots ancl bears Iruits
without blossoming;
It lms no orancnes and no leaves, it
is lotus all over.
Two birds sing there ; one is the Guru,
and the other the disciple t
The disciple chooses the manifold
fruits of life and tastes them, and
the Guru beholds him in joy.
What Kabir says is hard to under¬
stand : “ The bird is beyond seek¬
ing, yet it is most clearly visible.
The Formless is in the midst of all
forms. I sing the glory of forms.”
I, 107. calat rnansd acal kvnhl
I have stilled my restless mind, and
my heart is radiant: for in That-
ness I have seen beyond That-
ness, in company I have seen the
Comrade Himself.
Living in bondage, I have set myself'
free : I have broken away from
the clutch of all narrowness.
Kabir says : “I have attained the
unattainable, and my heart is1,
coloured with the colour of love.”
I. 105. jo disai, so to hai ndhin
That which you see is not: and for
that which is, you have no words.
Unless you see, you believe not: what
is told you you cannot accept.
He who is discerning knows by the
word; and the ignorant stands
Some contemplate the Formless, and
others meditate on form : but the
wise man knows that Brahma is
beyond both.
That beauty of His is not seen of
the eye : that metre of His is not
heard of the ear.
Kabir says:	“	lie	who lias found
both love and renunciation never
descends to death.’'
I. 126. murall bajat ahhmid saddye
Thk flute of the Infinite is played
without ceasing, and its sound is
love :
When love renounces all limits, it
reaches truth.
IIoav widely the fragrance spreads I
It has no end, nothing stands in
its way.
The form of this melody is bright
like a million suns ; incomparably
sounds the vina, the vina of the
notes of truth.
I. 329. sakhiyo, ham hun bhai
Dear friend, I am eager to meet my
Beloved ! My youth has flowered,
and the pain of separation from
Him troubles my breast.
I am wandering yet in the alleys of
knowledge without purpose, but T
have received His news in these
alleys of knowledge.
I have a letter from my Beloved : in
this letter is an unutterable mes¬
sage, and now my fear of death is
done away.
Kabir snys : “ O my loving friend !
I have got for my gift the Death¬
less One.”
I. 130. sain bin dard karcje hoy
When I am parted from my Beloved,
my heart is full of misery: I have
no comfort in the day, I have no
sleep in the night. To whom shall
I tell my sorrow ?
The night is dark; the hours slip by.
Because my Lord is absent, I
start up and tremble with fear.
Kabir says :	“ Listen, my friend !
there is no other satisfaction, save
in the encounter with the Beloved.”
I. 122. kaun murali fabd dun
anand bhayo
What is that flute whose music thrills.
me with joy ?
The flame burns without a lamp;
The lotus blossoms without a root;
Flowers bloom in dusters;
The moori-bird is devoted to the moon;
With all its heart the rain-bird longs
for the shower of rain ;
But upon whose love does the Lover
concentrate His entire life ?
I. 112. liuntd nahl dhun k% khabar
Have you not heard the tune which
the IJnstruck Music is playing ?
In the midst of the chamber the
harp of joy is gently and sweetly
played ; and where is the need of
going without to hear it ?
If you have not drunk of the nectar
of that One Love, what boots it
though you should purge yourself
of all stains ?
The Kazi is searching the words of the
Koran, and instructing others : but
if his heart be not steeped in that
love, what does it avail, though
he be a teacher of men ?
"The Yogi dyes his garments with
red: but if he knows naught of
that colour of love, what does it
avail though his garments be
Kabir says : “ Whether I be in I,he
temple or the balcony, in the camp
or in the flower garden, I tell yon
truly that every moment my Lord
is taking His delight in me.”
I. 73. bhakti led mdrag jhina re
Subtle is the path of love !
Therein there is no asking and no not-
There one loses one’s sell.' at His feet,
There one is immersed in the joy of
the seeking: plunged in the deeps
of love as the fish in the water.
The lover is never slow in offering
his head for his Lord’s service.
Kabir declares the secret of this love*
I. 68. bhdi kol salguru sard kahdwai
He is the real Sadhu, who can reveal
the form of the Formless to the
vision of these eyes :
Who tcachcs the simple way of attain¬
ing Him, that is other than rites
or ceremonies :
Who does not make you close the doors,
and hold the breath, and renounce
the world :
Who makes you perccivc the Supreme
Spirit wherever the mind attaches
Who teaches you to be still in the
midst of all your activities.
Ever immersed in bliss, having no
fear in his mind, he keeps the spirit
of union in the midst of all enjoy¬
The infinite dwelling of the Infinite
Being is everywhere:	in earth,
water, sky, and air :
Firm as the thunderbolt, the seat of
the seeker is established above
the void.
He who is within is without: I see
Him and none else.
I. 66. sadho, t$abd sadhand kijai
Receive that Word from which the
Universe springe th !
That Word is the Guru; I have heard
it, and become the disciple.
How many are there who know the
meaning of that Word V
0 Sadhu I practise that Word !
The Vedas and the Puranas proclaim
The world is established in it.
The Bishis and devotees speak of it:
But none knows the mystery of the
The householder leaves his house when
he hears it,
The ascetic comes back to love when
he hears it,
The Six Philosophies expound it,
The Spirit of Renunciation points to
that Word,
From that Word the world-form has
That Word reveals all.
Kabir says : “ But who knows whence
the Word cometh ? ”
I. <33. pi le pyala, ho matwald
Empty the Cup I 0 be drunken !
Drink the divine nectar of His Name I
Kabir says:	“	Listen	to me, dear
Sadhu !
From the sole of the foot to the crown
of the head this mind is filled with
I. 52. khasm na cinhai bawari
O man, if thou dost not know thine
own Lord, whereof art thou so
Put thy cleverness away : mere words
shall never unite thee to Him.
Do not deceive thyself with the wit-
- ness of the Scriptures :
Love is something other than this,
and he who has sought it truly has
found it.
I. 56. sukh sindh kl sair kd
The savour of wandering in the ocean
of deathless life has rid me of all
my asking:
As the tree is in the seed, so all dis¬
eases are in this asking.
I. 48. sukh sugar men Mice
When ah last you are come to the
ocean ol' happiness, do not go back
Wake, foolish man ! for Death stalks
you. Here is pure water before
you *, drink it at every breath.
Do not follow the mirage on foot, but
thirst for the nectar ;
Dhniva, Prahlad, and Shukadeva have
drunk of it, and also Raidas has
tasted it:
The saints are drank with love, their
thirst is for love,
Kttbif says : “ Listen to me, brother !
The nest of fear is broken.
Not for a moment have you come
face to face with the world :
You arc weaving your bondage of
falsehood, your words arc lull of
deception :
With the load of desires which you
hold on your head, how can you
be light ? ”
Kabir says : “ Keep within you truth,
dctachmcnt, and love.”
I. 35. sati ko kaun sikhawta hai
Who has ever taught the widowed
wife to bum herself on the pyre of
her dead husband ?
And who has ever taught love to find
bliss in renunciation ?
I. 39. are man, dhiraj kdhe na dharai
Why so impatient, my heart ?
He who watches over birds, beasts, and
He who cared for yon whilst you were
yet in your mother’s womb,
Shall lie not care for you now that
you arc come forth V
Oh my heart, how could you turn from
the smile of your Lord and wander
so far from Him ?
You have left your Beloved and are
thinking of others :	and	this	is
why all your work is in vain.
I. 117. a'dm sc lagan kathin had, bhai
IIow hard it is to meet my Lord !
The rain-bird wails in thirst for the
rain : almost she dies of her long¬
ing, yet she would have none
other water than the rain.
Drawn by the love of music, the deer
moves forward : she dies as she
listens to the music, yet she shrinks
not in fear.
The widowed wife sits by the body
of her dead husband : she is not
afraid of the fire.
Put away all fear for this poor body.
I. 22. jab main bhuld, rc bhm
0 brother ! when I was forgetful,
my true Guru showed me the
Then I left off all rites and ceremonies,
I bathed no more in the holy water :
Then I learned that it was I alone who
was mad, and the whole world
beside me was sane ; and 1 had
disturbed these wise people.
From that time forth I knew no more
how to roll in the dust in obcisance :
1 do not ring the temple bell:
I do not set the idol on its throne :
I do not worship the image with
It is not the austerities that mortify
the flesh which are pleasing ta
the Lord,
When you leave of!' your clothes and
kill your senses, you do not please
the Lord :
The man who is kind and who practises
righteousness, who remains passive
amidst the affairs of the world,
who considers all creatures on
earth as his own self,
He attains the Immortal Being, the
true God is ever with him.
Kabir says: “ He attains the true
Name whose words are pure, and
who is free from pride and conceit.”
I. 20. man na rangdyc
The Yogi dyes his garments, instead
of dyeing his mind in the colours
of love:
He sits within the temple of the Lord,
leaving Brahma to worship a
He pierces holes in his ears, he has a
great beard and matted locks, he
looks like a goat:
He goes forth into the wilderness,
killing all his desires, and turns
himself into an eunuch :
He shaves his head and dyes his
garments ; he reads the Gita and
becomes a mighty talker.
Kabir says: “You arc going to the doors
of death, bound hand and foot 1 ”
I. 9. ndi jane sdhab kaisa hai
I do not know what manner of God is
The Mullah cries aloud to Him : and!
why ? Is your Lord deaf ? The
subtle anklets that ring on the
feet of an inscct when it moves
arc heard of Him.
Tell your beads, paint your forehead
with the mark of your God, and
wear matted locks long and showy :
but a deadly weapon is in your heart,
and how shall you have God ?
HI. 102. ham Sfi rahd najay
I hkAlt the melody of His flute, and
I cannot contain myself:
The flower blooms, though it is not
spring ; and already the bee has
received its invitation.
The sky roars and the lightning flashes,
the waves arise in my heart,
The rain falls ; and my heart longs for
my Lord.
Where the rhythm of the world rises
and falls, thither my heart has
readied :
There the hidden banners are flutter¬
ing in the air.
Kabir says:	“	My	heart is dying,
though it lives.”
III. 2. jo khoda masjid vasal hai
If God be within the mosque, then to
whom does this world belong ?
If Ram be within the image which you
find upon your pilgrimage, then
who is there to know what happens
without ?
Hari is in the East: Allah is in the
West. Look within your heart,
for there you will find both Karim
and Ram;
All the men and women of the world
are His living forms.
Kabir is the child of Allah and of
Ram: He is my Guru, He is my
III, 9. 6ril santosh sada, samadrishti
He who is meek and contented, he
who has an equal vision, whose
mind is filled with the fullness of
acceptance and of rest;
He who has seen Him and touched
Him, he is freed from all fear.and
To him the perpetual thought of God
is like sandal paste smeared on
the body, to him nothing else is
Ilis work and his rest are filled with
music : he sheds abroad the radi¬
ance of love.
Kabir says : “ Touch Ilis feet, who is
one and indivisible, immutable and
peaceful; who fills all vessels to
the brim with joy, and whose form
is love.”
III. 13. sddh sangat pUam
Go thou to the company of the good,
where the Beloved One has His
dwelling place :
Take all thy thoughts and love and
instruction from thence.
Let that assembly be burnt to ashes
where His Name is not spoken !
Tell me, how couldst thou hold a
wedding - feast, if the bridegroom
himself were not there ?
Waver no more, think only of the
Beloved ;
Set not thy heart on the worship of
other gods, there is no worth in
the worship of other masters.
Kabir deliberates and says : “ Thus
thou shalt never find the Be¬
loved 1 ”
III. 26. tor h'ira hirnilwd
klcad men
The jewel is lost in tlic mud, and all
arc seeking for it;
Some look for it in. the east, and some
in the west; some in the water
and some amongst stones.
But the servant Kabir has appraised
it at its true value, and has
wrapped it with care in the end
of the mantle of his heart.
[II. 20. dyau din gaune kd ho
The palanquin came to take me away
to my husband’s home, and it sent
through my heart a thrill of joy;
But the bearers have brought me into
the lonely forest, where 1 have
no one, of my own.
0 bearers, I entreat you by your feet,
wait but a moment longer:	let
me go back to my kinsmen and
friends, and take my leave of them.
The servant Kabir sings : “ 0 Sadliu!
finish your buying and selling,
have done with your good and
your bad : for there are no markets
and no shops in 1/he land to which
you go.”
III. 30. are dil, prem nngar
kd ant na payd
O my heart! you have not known
all the secrets of this city of love :
in ignorance you came, and in
ignorance you return.
O my friend, what have you done with
this life ? You have taken on your
head the burden heavy with stones,
and who is to lighten it for you ?
Your Friend stands on the other
shore, but you never think in your
mind how you may meet with Him:
The boat is broken, and yet you sit ever
upon the bank ; and thus you are
beaten to no purpose by the waves.
The. servant Kabir asks you to con¬
sider ; who is there that shall be¬
friend you at the last ?
You are alone, you have no companion:
you will suffer the consequences of
your own deeds.
III. 55. ved kahe sargwQ, ke age
The Vedas say that the Unconditioned
stands beyond the world of Con¬
0 woman, what does it avail thee to
dispute whether He is beyond all
(ir in nil ?
See thou everything as thine own dwell¬
ing place : the mist of pleasure and
pain can never spread there.
There Brahma is revealed day and
night: there light is His garment,
light is His seat, light rests on thy
Kabir says : “ The Master, who is true,
He is all light.”
III. 48. tu surat nain nihdr
Open your eyes of love, and see Him
who pervades this world ! consider
it well, and lcnow that this is your
own country.
When you meet the true Guru, Ho
will awaken your heart ;
He will tell you the secret of love and
detachment, and then you will
know indeed that He transcends
this universe.
This worJd is the City of Truth, its
maze of paths enchants the heart:
Wc can reach the goal without crossing
the road, such is the sport unending.
Where the ring of manifold joys ever
dances about Him, there is the
sport of Eternal Bliss.
When wc know this, then all our
receiving and renouncing is over ;
Thenceforth ihe heat of having shall
never scorch us more.
He is the Ultimate Rest unbounded :
lie has spread Ilis form of love
throughout all the world.
From that Ray which is Truth, streams
of new forms ore perpetually
.springing : and lie pervades those
All the gardens and groves and bowers
are abounding with blossom ; and
the air breaks forth into ripples
of joy.
There the swan plays a wonderful
There the Unstruck Music eddies
around the Infinite One ;
There in the midst the Throne of the
Unheld is shining, whereon the
great Being sits—■
Millions of suns are shamed by the
radiance of a single hair of His body.
On the harp of the road what true
melodies arc being sounded ! and
its notes pierce the heart:
There the Eternal Fountain is playing
its endless life-streams of birth
and death.
They call Him Emptiness who is the
Truth of truths, in Whom all
truths are stored !
There within Him creation goes for¬
ward, which is beyond all philo¬
sophy ; for philosophy cannot
attain to Him :
There is au endless world, 0 my
Brother ! and there is the Name¬
less Being, of whom nought can
be said.
Only he knows it who has reached
that region : it is other than all
that is heard and said.
No form, no body, no length, no
breadth is seen there ; how can I
tell you that which it is ?
lie comes to the Path of the Infinite
on whom the grace of the Lord
descends : lie is freed from births
and deaths who attains to Him.
Kabir says : “ It cannot be told by
the words of the mouth, it cannot
be written on paper :
It is like a dumb person who tastes a
sweet thing—how shall it be ex¬
plained ? ”
in. 60. cal hnmsd wd des jahan
O MY heart ! let us go to that country
where dwells the Beloved, the
ravisher of my heart!
There Love is filling her pitcher from
the well, yet she has no rope
wherewith to draw water ;
There the clouds do not cover the sky,
yet the rain falls down in gentle
showers :
O bodiless one! do not sit on your
doorstep; go forth and bathe
yourself in that rain !
There it is ever moonlight and never
dark; and who speaks of one sun
only ? that land is illuminate with
the rays of a million suns.
III. 63. kahmn Kahn, tfwio ho sddho
Kabir, says: “0 Sadhu! hear my
deathless words. If you want your
own good, examine and consider
them well.
You have1 estranged yourself from
the Creator, of whom you have
sprung : you have lost your reason,
you have bought death.
All doctrines and all teachings are
sprung from Him, from Him they
grow ; know this for certain, and
have no fear.
Hear from me the tidings of this great
truth 1
Whose name do you sing, and on
whom do you meditate ? 0, come
forth from this entanglement 1
lie dwells at the heart of all things,
so why take refuge in eriapty deso¬
lation ?
If you place the Guru at a distance
from you, then it is but the
distance that you honour :
If indeed the Master be far away, then
who is it else that is creating this
world ?
When you think that lie is not here,
then you wander further and
further away, and seek Him in
vain with tears.
Where He is far off, there He is un¬
attainable : where He is near, He
is very bliss.
Kabir says: " Lest His servant should
suffer pain He pervades him
through and through.”
Know yourself then, 0 Kabir; for
He. is in you from head to foot.
Sing with gladness, and keep your
seat unmoved within your heart.
ill. 66. nn main dharml nahm
jl am neither pious nor ungodly,
I live neither by law nor by sense,
I am neither a speaker nor hearer,
I am neither a servant nor master,
I am neither bond nor free,
I am neither detached nor attached.
I am far from none : 1 am near to
I shall go neither to hell nor to
1 do all works'; yet I am apart from
all works.
Few comprehend my meaning: he
who can comprehend it, he sits
Kabir seeks neither to establish nor
to destroy.
III. 69. satta nam hai sab ten nyard
The true Name is like none other
name !
The distinction of the Conditioned
from the Unconditioned is but a
word :
The Unconditioned is the seed, the
Conditioned is the flower and the
Knowledge is the branch, and the
Name is the root.
Look, and see where the root is:
happiness shall be yours when you
come to the root.
The root will lead you to the branch,
the leaf, the flower, and the fruit:
It is th<? encounter with the Lord, it
is the attainment of bliss, it is
the reconciliation of the Condi¬
tioned and the Unconditioned.
III. 74. prntharn ek jo apai dp
In the beginning was He alone, suffi¬
cient unto Himself : the formless,
colourless, and unconditionedBeing.
Then was there neither beginning,
middle, nor end ;
Then were no eyes, no darkness, no
Then were no ground, air, nor sky; no
lire, water, nor earth ; no rivers
like the Ganges and the Jumna,
no seas, oceans, and waves.
Then was neither vice nor virtue ;
scriptures there were not, as the
Yedas and Puranas, nor as the
Kabir ponders in his mind and says:
“ Then was there no activity : the
Supreme Being remained merged
in the unknown depths of His own
The Guru neither eats nor drinks,
neither lives nor dies :
Neither has He form, line, colour, nor
He who has neither caste nor clan
nor anything else — how may I
describe His glory ?
He has neither form nor formlessness,
He has no name,
He has neither colour nor colourless¬
He has no dwelling-place.
III. 76. kahain Kabir vicar ke
Kabir ponders and says : “ He who
has neither caste nor country, who
is formless and without quality,
fills all space.”
The Creator brought into being the
Game of Joy : and from the word
Om the Creation s»vang.
Tlic earth is His joy; His joy is the
sky ;
His joy is the flashing of the sun and
the moon ;
His joy is the beginning, the middle,
and the end ;
His joy is eyes, darkness, and light.
Oceans and waves are His joy : His
joy the Sarasvati, the Jumna, and
the Ganges.
The Guru is One : and life and death,
union and separation, arc all His
plays of joy !
Ilis play the land and water, the whole
universe !
His play the earth and the sky !
In play is the Creation spread out, in
play it is established. The whole
world, says Kabir, rests in His
play, yet still the Player remains
III. 84. jhl jM jantar bdjai
The harp gives forth murmurous
music; and the dance goes on
without hands and feet.
It is played without fingers, it is
heard without ears :	for He is
the ear, and He is the listener.
The gate is locked, but within there
is fragrance : and there the meet¬
ing is seen of none.
The wise shall understand it.
III. 89. mor phakirwa mdngijdy
The Beggar goes a-begging, but I
could not even catch sight of Him
And what shall I beg of the Beggar ‘r
He gives without my asking.
Kabir says : “ I am His own : now
let that befall which may befall! ”
III. 90. naihar se jii/ara phdt re
My heart cries aloud for the house
of my lover; the open road and
the shelter of a roof are all one to
her who has lost the eity of her
My heart finds no joy in anything:
my mind and my body are dis¬
His palace has a million gates, but
there is a vast ocean between it
and me:
How shall I cross it, 0 friend ? for
endless is the outstretching of the
How wondrously this lyre is wrought!
When its strings are rightly strung,
it maddens the heart: but when
the keys are broken and the strings
are loosened, none reffard it more.
I tell my parents with laughter that I
must go to my Lord in the morning ;
They are angry, for they do not want,
me to go, and they say : “ She'
thinks she has gained such
dominion over her husband that
she can have whatsoever she
wishes ; and therefore she is im¬
patient to go to him.”
Dear friend, lift my veil lightly now;
for this is the night of love.
Kabir says :	“ Listen to me ! My
heart is eager to meet my lover:
I lie sleepless upon my bed. Re¬
member me early in the morning!”
III. 96. jiv mahal men &iv pahtimvd
Serve your God, who has come into
this temple of life !
Do not act the part of a madman,
for the night is thickening fast.
He has awaited me for countless ages,
for love of me lie has lost His
heart :
Yet I did not know the bliss ihal
was so near to me, for my love was
not yet awake.
But now, my Lover has made known
to me the meaning of the note that
struck'my ear :
Now, my good for tune is come.
Kabir says : “ Behold ! how great is
my good fortune ! I have received
the unending caress of my Be¬
loved ! ”
1. 71. gagan ghaid ghahardnl, sddho
Clouds thicken in the sky ! 0, listen
to Die deep voicc of their roaring;
The rain comes from the east with its
monotonous murmur.
Take care of the fences and boundaries
of your fields, lest the rains over¬
flow them;
Prepare the soil of deliverance, and
let the creepers of love and re¬
nunciation be soaked in this shower.
It is the prudent f turner who will
bring his harvest	he	shall
fill both his vessels, feed both
the wise men and tint „dints.
III. 118. dj din he main jaun balihdn
This day is dear to me above all other
days, for to-day the Beloved Lord
is a guest in my house ;
My chamber and my courtyard are
beautiful with His presence.
My longings sing His Name, and they
are become lost in His great beauty:
I wash Ilis feet, and I look upon His
Face ; and I lay before Him as an
offering my body, my mind, and
all that I have.
What a day of gladness is that day
in which my Beloved, who is my
treasure, comes to my house !
All evils fly from my heart when I see
my Lord.
“ My love has touchcd Him; my
heart is longing for the Name
which is Truth.”
Thus sings Kabir, the servant of all
1. 100. IcM dunid hai jnanl rag
gagan men
Is there any wise man who will listen
to that solemn music which arises
in the sky ?
For He, the Source of all music,
makes all vessels full fraught, and
rests in fullness Himself.
He who is in the body is ever athirst,
for he pursues that which it, in
part :
But ever there wells forth deeper and
deeper the sound “ He is this—
this is He ” ; fusing love ,and
renunciation into one.
Kabir says : “ O brother ! that is the
Primal Word.”
I.	108. main ka se bujhaun
To whom shall I go to learn about
my Beloved ?
Kabir says :	“	As	you	never	may
find the forest if you ignore the
tree, so He may never be found in
£11. 12. samskirit bhdshd padhi Unha
I have learned the Sanskrit language,
so let all men call me wise :
But where is the use of this, when I
am floating adrift, and parched
with thirst, and burning with the
heat of desire ?
To no purpose do you hear on youv
head this load of pride and vanity.
Kabir says: “ Lay it down in the dust
and go forth to meet the Beloved.
Address Him as your Lord.”
III. 110. cai'khd calai surat virahin kd
The woman who is parted from her
lover spins at the spinning wheel.
The city of the body arises in its
beauty; and within it the palace
of the mind has been built.
The wheel of love revolves in the skyy
and the seat is made of the jewels
of knowledge:
What subtle threads the woman
weaves, and makes them fine with
love and reverence !
Kabir says: “I am weaving the garland
of day and night. When my Lover
comes and touches me with His
feet, I shall offer Him my tears.”
III. Ill, kotin bhdnu candra taragatf
Beneath the great umbrella of my
King millions of suns and moons
and stars are shining!
He is the Mind within my mind : He
is the Eye within mine eye.
Ah, could my mind and eyes be one I
Could my love but reach to my
Lover! Could but the fiery heat
of my heart be cooled I
Kabir says : “ When you unite love
with the Lover, then you have
love’s perfection.”
I.	92. iivadhu begavi ded hamard
0 Sadhu ! my land is a sorrowlcr %
1 cry aloud to all, to the king and tl ;
beggar, the emperor and the fakir—-
Whosoever seeks for shelter in the
Highest, let all come and settle
in my land !
Let the weary come and lay his
burdens here!
So live here, my brother, that you may
cross with ease to that other shore.
It is a land without earth or sky,
without moon or stars ;
For only the radiance of Truth shines
in mv Lord’s Durbar.
Kabir . says :	“0 beloved brother !
naught is essential save Truth,”
I.	109, sain ke saiigot sasur at
I came, with my Lord to my Lord’s
home: but I lived not with Him
and I tasted Him not, and my
youth passed away like a dream,
my wedding night my women-
friends sang in chorus, and I was
anointed with the unguents of
pleasure and pain;
But when the ceremony was over, I
left my Lord and came away, and
my' kinsman tried to console ’me
upon the road.
Kabir says: “ I shall go to my Lord’s
house with my love at my side;
theri shall I sound the trumpet
of triumph ! ”
I.	75. samajh dckh man mil pii/amd
O friend, dear licail of mine, think
well! if you love indeed, then wlv,T
do you sleep ?
If you have found Tlim, then g
yourself utterly, and take Him to
Why do you loose Him again and
again ?
If the deep sleep of rest has come to
your eyes, why waste your time
making the bed and arranging the
pillows ?
Kabir says*: “ I tell you the wavs of
love ! Even though the head itself
must be given, why should you
weep over it ? ”
II.	90. sahab ham men, sdhah
turn men
The Lord is in me, the Lord is in you,
as life is in every seed. O servant I
put false pride away, and seek foi
Him wifcliin you.
A million suns are ablaze with light, .
The sea of blue spreads in the sky,
The fever of life is stilled, and all
stains are washed away; when
I sit in the midst of that world.
ark to the unstruck bells and drums!
Take your delight in love !
ains pour down without water, and
the rivers are streams of light.
One Love it is that pervades the whole
world, few there are who know it
fully :
They are blind who hope to see it by
the light of reason, that reason
which is the cause of separation—
The House of Reason is very far away !
How blessed is Kabir, that amidst
this great joy he sings within his
own vessel.
It is the music of the meeting of soul
with soul;
It is the music of the forgetting of
o	o
It is the music that transcends all
coming in and all going forth.
II.	98. ritit 'phdgwn niyar dm
The month of March draws near : ah,
who will unite me to my Lover ?
How shall I find words for the beauty
of my Beloved ? For He is merged
in all beauty.
His colour is in ail the pictures of the
world, and it bewitches the body
and the mind.
Those who know this, know what is
this unutterable play of the Spring.
Kabir says : “ Listen to me, brother !
there are not many who have
found this out.”
II.	111. Narad, pydr so anlar nahl
On Narad! I know that my Lover
cannot be far :
When my Lover wakes, I wake ; when
He sleeps, I sleep.
He is destroyed at the rool who gives
pain to my Beloved.
Where they sing His praise, there I
When He moves, I walk before Him :
my heart yearns for my Beloved.
The infinite pilgrimage lies at His feet,
a million devotees are seated there.
Kabir says: “The Lover Himself re¬
veals the glory of true love.”
II.	122. hfn prein kl peng jhulcio re
IIanc up the swing of love to-day !
Hang the body and the mind between
the arms of the Beloved, in the
ecstasy of love’s joy :
Bring the tearful streams of the rainy
clouds to yonr eyes, and cover your
heart with the shadow of dark-
ness :
Bring your face nearer to His ear, and
speak of the deepest longings of
your heart.
Kabir says : ;t Listen to me, brother!
bring the vision of the Beloved in
your heart.”